Guinea pigs originated in South America though there are no longer any left in the wild. They are a popular food in areas of Latin America and Africa. For the rest of us these gentle little rodents are pets. What few of us realize is that they are actually herd animals and can get very lonely when they are on their own -- so much so that they can actually die of loneliness.

Guinea Pigs
Guinea Pigs

Animal rights activists in Switzerland made the argument that keeping your pet from socializing with members of its own species constitutes cruelty. In 2008 they introduced legislation that now makes it illegal to own just one guinea pig at a time. Strange but true!

So you have two of the furry little critters so that they can keep each other company. What happens when one of them dies leaving the other one alone? Enter Swiss entrepreneur Priska Kung .She runs a sort of guinea pig rental service to help out in just such an emergency.

Guinea Pigs Engaged in Social Grooming
Guinea Pigs Engaged in Social Grooming

Sometimes people don't want to purchase another guinea pig because they were not planning to continue being owners beyond their current two and then suddenly find themselves outside the law. They can rent one of the rodents to get them through the interim.

Kung keeps a "stable" of around 80 guinea pigs. Her basic idea is to not keep passing the creatures from one person to the next. Either they stay with their new family for the rest of their lives or are returned to live with her forever. This is hardly a get-rich scheme for her. It costs more to do this than she makes at it. It is definitely a labor of love for the woman who has been raising guinea pigs her whole life.

For guinea pigs life is a sweet deal in Switzerland.

Images via Wikipedia

Sources: Mental Floss, ABC News, Wikipedia

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